I've been wanting to get online to actually write this for a while, but between the NICU, visitors, and just having a baby and a toddler, this is the first opportunity I've had! I wrote in a couple of threads about what happened, but this is the slightly longer version.
To put this in context, my first labor lasted 36 hours and I stalled at 8cm for many hours. I eventually transferred to the hospital from our birth center so that I could get some pain relief and go to sleep. DD1 was born vaginally after 2 hours of pushing with an epidural. I've heard that second births go faster, so I was hoping that maybe I'd get away with an 8-12 hour labor this time. Also, my first was born at 42 weeks exactly, so I was expecting this one to go long too.
So last Monday afternoon I was 41+0 (according to midwives EDD, according to conception, I was actually 41+3). I had been having contractions that got semi regular every evening for about a week, but they all petered out by the time I went to bed. I decided to have my membranes stripped at my appointment on Monday to see if that would kickstart anything. My midwife said that I was 1cm and 60% effaced when she started, but that my cervix easily stretched to 3cm when she was stripping my membranes. That was at 2pm. For the rest of the day, I had contractions that were around 10 minutes apart, 1 minute or so long, and they felt different from the contractions I had been having. We went about our day and I went to bed at normal time and the contractions didn't interfere at all, but I did wake up a couple of times with contractions although I went right back to sleep.
At 4:30am, I woke up to contractions and couldn't get back to sleep. After a little while I started timing them on my contraction master app, and they were 5 minutes apart and 45-60 seconds long. They were no big deal and were completely manageable. I hung out in bed until around 5:30 when I woke my husband up. At 6am, we called the midwife to tell her we thought this was the real thing and we agreed to be at the birth center at 8am. For the next hour, we puttered around the house getting things done, packing our last minute items, and I took a shower. I got out of the shower a little after 7 and the game had totally changed. All of a sudden, I could no longer cope with contractions. I had stopped timing them because they came so close together I barely had time to catch my breath before there was another one that sent me to my bed to get on all fours and shove my head into my pillow. I think they were about 2 minutes apart, lasting a little over a minute, so really I was not getting a break at all. I had to vomit around this time too. The contractions seemed to be triggered by movement, so it took me FOREVER to put my clothes on, and then when I finally did, I had to take my skirt off because it felt too tight (even though that skirt is NOT tight on me). Finally, I was ready to go downstairs. It took around 15 minutes to get down the stairs because every single step caused a contraction and I could NOT move while contracting. When I finally got downstairs, I went to my big leather chair and kneeled on it while hanging over the back. At this point, I'm just straight up screaming through contractions. And then something changed - I felt myself pushing. It was totally beyond my control and I could feel my body bearing down through every contraction. I yelled to my husband that I was pushing and (we laugh about this now) he said, "well, can't you stop? Can't you do anything to slow it down? We have to get in the car!" To which I responded that I could NOT stop and I could NOT slow anything down and he needed to call our midwife NOW. So he did.
DH explained the situation to MW, and she asked to talk to me. I took the phone but immediately had another contraction and threw the phone. DH got the phone, and MW was able to hear my screams and pushing grunts and told DH that he had to hang up the phone IMMEDIATELY and call 911 right now. So he did.
I don't remember how I got there, but the next thing I remember is being on my living room floor, lying on my back. My underwear were still on, and I think I pushed them to the side to see if there was a head - I felt my bag of water bulging out and a second later, it broke on its own. A minute or so later, 3 paramedics and a police officer came into my home. Two of the paramedics and the police officer had never seen a live birth and were totally shellshocked. They didn't realize how far along things were, so they starting lifting me up to bring me to the ambulance. As I was walking out the door (supported by the paramedics), I felt the head actually come out - not just crown, but pop out!!! So I screamed that they had to lie me down and baby is coming right this minute. So they put me back on the living room floor and someone cut my underwear off because I was unable to get them down my legs. The one paramedic who had done this before got gloves and towels and then DD2 slid right out into his hands. She was born at 8:01am. She weighed 8lbs, 7oz and was 22" long.
It took a little while, but eventually the paramedics found clamps and clamped the cord and DH cut the cord. We didn't have enough blankets or towels downstairs, so DH had to find a dishtowel to wrap the baby with. DD2 had a good apgar score, her color and tone was good, and although she didn't cry immediately, she cried about 30 seconds after being born. She sputtered right away and the paramedic suctioned her and then she cried. When my water broke, there was meconium in it (I didn't see it, but DH did) and then when she was actually born, the fluid was muddy brown. I put her to my breast right away, but she would not latch on and didn't seem interested. She wasn't terribly responsive to anything and looked like she was struggling a bit.
After a few minutes, I put on a pair of sweatpants and walked outside and got onto the stretcher and DD2 was placed on my chest for the ride to the hospital. It was actually the calmest part of the day. I could NOT believe what had just happened and I had no idea what was yet to come.
When we arrived at the hospital, I swear, every employee was there waiting to see us. It was really bizarre. A few people asked if I did it on purpose, which at the time I thought was just dumb, but I now find offensive. I mean, if I was planning an unassisted homebirth, why the heck would I call 911? The point of a planned homebirth is to stay far far away from the hospital. Anyway, we made it into the ER where I had one small tear repaired (same place I tore with the first birth and not a big deal at all). With my first I tore in a starburst pattern and my midwife spent an hour and a half stitching me back up, so I was thrilled to hear it was just one little tear. Then they gave me an IV with pitocin - which was HORRIBLE because it immediately caused contractions that rivaled the ones I had just had during labor. I started gagging and dry heaving and instructed the medical staff to stop the pitocin immediately. They complied, though very reluctantly. The afterpains were SOOOOOO bad, but at least after the pitocin stopped I didn't need to vomit anymore.
During all of this, the doctors are very concerned about the baby. They weren't really communicating their concerns to me and I was getting agitated because I couldn't tell whether there was a legitimate medical concern or whether they were just being super crazy cautious because the baby was born on the floor in our house (which to be fair, is pretty far from a sterile environment). In the end, they sent her to the NICU because her oxygen saturation level was very low and she was struggling to breathe.
I was brought to labor and delivery where I had a GREAT nurse who I told I didn't want pitocin unless I absolutely needed it, and she suggested that I empty my bladder because that could be preventing my uterus from clamping down. Sure enough, as soon as I peed (first time I ever used a bedpan, eww) my uterus did what it was supposed to and I didn't need pitocin anymore. That was pretty much it for me - my recovery was super smooth after that. The afterpains were really serious though for a couple of days. I had read that after your first birth afterpains get progressively worse and wow, that's sure true.
As for DD2, while I certainly didn't want her to need a NICU stay, the medical care she received there was amazing and when we left, I was profoundly grateful that there is such an incredible resource only 10 minutes from our home. The doctor who oversaw her care was a superstar. He answered all of our questions patiently, he explained all of the decisions he made to us clearly and without a hint of condescention (sp), and he took really really great care of our baby. We had a few great nurses and a few crap nurses, but they all took great care of DD2 - our only complaints were really how the nurses dealt with us.
In the end, it turned out that DD2 had Transient tachypnea of the newborn - she had fluid in her lungs that should have come out during labor and delivery but didn't because the birth was sooooo fast. The doctors were very concerned that it could have been pnemonia or meconium aspiration, so we were all incredibly relieved when her symptoms resolved all on their own about 36-48 hours after her birth. She was discharged on Thursday - the same day she would have been discharged had there been no NICU stay. She started nursing on Tuesday night and she is a CHAMP! No latch issues, just perfect as soon as she decided that she was ready. She is an incredibly calm and mellow baby, which is kind of a relief after our first who was and is high needs.
Oh yeah, one more thing, I passed the placenta about 1 minute after Maeve was born, so we took it to the hospital (paramedics insisted/). While at the hospital, we were told that to get it back we would have to go through a funeral home so I told DH to just take it when no one was looking lol! He did, and we got caught of course, but then the really great nurse who helped me avoid the pitocin said that we just had to sign a form, which we did. So I'm having the placenta encapsulated tonight!
It took us two days to name Maeve because not a single name on our list fit her. I had seen the name Maeve on a number of babyname lists, but never gave it a second thought. Shortly after her birth though, the name came to me and I couldn't imagine naming her anything else. It was the only only name that fit her. DH needed some time to get on board, but eventually he agreed that it's the only name for her. I really liked it when we named her, but now I'm MADLY in love with it.
This is all kind of a stream of consciousness and I'm trying to type fast before one of my two kiddos wakes up (both sleeping right now hooray!!!!), so I might come back to edit later, but bottom line, the whole experience was amazing. The labor was scary as hell, but now that DD2 is out of the NICU and we are all safe and healthy at home, I am kind of thankful that I got to experience what my body was meant to do. From first contraction to birth, it was 3 1/2 hours, but I never had active labor. I went from early labor for 2 1/2 hours right to transition for 45 minutes and 15 minutes of pushing. So really, I was only in actual labor for about an hour. I never pushed consciously, it was all my body all on its own. Because I was in labor for 36 hours with my first, no one saw this coming at all. I do wish we had had a little just in case bad packed with a shower curtain, blankets, towels, gloves, and a bulb syringe, but it just never occurred to me that after last time a precipitous labor was even possible. I think we are probably done at 2, but if we ever have a third, the only birth I will consider is a homebirth.
Here are a few photos:
Edited by 1stTimeMama4-4-10 - 9/4/12 at 8:35pm